The Mac operating system has made gains on Windows since 2003.

Survey: Mac use growing on campus

The Mac operating system has made gains on Windows since 2003, particularly on college campuses.

Mac use in higher education jumped 18 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to a survey of North American colleges and universities—but supporting the popular Apple products alongside Windows devices in a cross-platform environment is still a nuisance for many campus technology officials.

The survey of 125 institutions, conducted by digital collaboration company Group Logic, says Mac use on campus is not expected to plateau any time soon: Campus technology leaders expect Mac use to rise by another 20 percent over the next five years.

Thirty percent of college students and one in four faculty members are Mac users, according to the survey. With Mac use on the rise, about 60 percent of college IT officials said the satisfaction of Mac users “had improved over the past year,” despite some problems with cross-platform integration.

If a college hasn’t properly integrated both Windows and Macintosh systems, students and faculty might have trouble accessing printers or files between PCs and Macs.

Anders Lofgren, Group Logic’s vice president of product management, said “institutions that use built-in system tools to integrate their Mac and Windows environments still find that performance and security remain significant concerns.”

The survey results show that campus technology departments have dealt with a steady stream of questions and concerns from on-campus Mac users having trouble connecting to printers or sharing files. Four in 10 college IT officials surveyed said they receive requests from students who need help transferring files using a Mac computer “often” or “nearly every day.”

“There was a time when our industry was talking mostly about future adoption when it came to Macs, but that time has passed,” Lofgren said.